Supreme Battle Over President Obama's Top Pick for Justice

Obama reveals his nomination to replace Justice Scalia's Supreme Court seat is Merrick Garland but Senate Republicans are vowing the nomination will not go any further.
4:53 | 03/16/16

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Transcript for Supreme Battle Over President Obama's Top Pick for Justice
The epic battle already under way to show down at the Supreme Court. President Obama revealing his choice to replace Justice Scalia on the court nominating Merrick Garland. The president aware of this nation's divided politics but warning to go down that path would be wrong. Tonight senate Republicans vowing the nomination will go no further. At the Rose Garden ceremony to president introducing Garland a Court of Appeals judge long respected on both sides of the aisle. Describing him as one of the nation's finest legal minds but it was not long after Republicans said they we'll take no action. A tonight Republican senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. At his phone call with the judge all of this has 63% of Americans at our most recent poll said the senate should hold hearings on the Supreme Court nominee. ABC's Terry Moran it was covered the court for years is back at the court tonight. After weeks of anticipation there was President Obama striding into the Rose Garden introducing his nominee I've made my decision. Judge Merrick Garland standing quietly at the president's side vents stepping forward the emotion of the moment overwhelming. This is the greatest honor of my life. Other than where an agreement 220. New agers a couple of his family there watching minus daughter Becky I also wish that we haven't talked my older daughter to be so adventurous and she would be hiking in the mountains out of cell service range. And the president call. For decades Merrick Garland has been a prominent figure in American law 63 years old he's one of the oldest nominees ever. He is chief judge of the US Court of Appeals in Washington where he served for eighteen years and before that's. A top federal prosecutor associate deputy attorney general Merrick Garland. Garland was there in Oklahoma City in 1995. As seen here in a video released by the White House today. Leading the prosecution of Timothy McVeigh a death penalty case he carried the names of the victims with him everywhere he went while prosecuting that case we promised that we would find the perpetrators. Now we would bring them to justice. And that we would do it in a way that honored the constitution. He also led the prosecution of the unabomber. As a judge Garland is known as a moderate on the appeals court though he warned tip the balance of the Supreme Court by replacing staunch conservative Antonin Scalia. Now he faces a partisan firestorm and in the Rose Garden President Obama began the fight for his nominate speaking of the Supreme Court it's supposed to be above politics it has to be. And it should stay that way. Terry we all heard the president there saying this is supposed to be above politics but is a major political battle inevitable here and did the president factor that in. It is David and it looks like the president did factor that in on his short list. He could have chosen a more strongly liberal candidate or candidate offering diversity to rally the Democrats to the cause but in Merrick Garland. The president has chosen nominee. Who's had support from both sides the political aisle over the years who in any normal time would be confirmed. It's not a normal time David. Terry Moran live at the Supreme Court Terry thank you. On Capitol Hill tonight our team went to ask Republicans who say this will go no further to ask why and if they would reconsider. ABC's Mary Bruce with what she heard. Minutes after that Rose Garden ceremony this senate's top Republican declared judge Garland nomination was going nowhere does the Senate's constitutional right as track. On a president. And withhold. It's been sent Republicans are insisting the pic should fall to the next president senator or an agent to be kicking around. None he went to find the Republican leaders who are refusing topple hearings or vote including Orrin hatch who once praised Garland. He belongs on the core but today. You said before that he belongs on the court why not at least consider him now. I didn't say that he wants in the spring coroner said he belonged on the DC Circuit Court why not at least have hearings and consider what has changed since then I think the Supreme Court been politicized and but late today signs the Republican wall me packing and Mitch McConnell who won't with Garland taking his phone call wishing well. And now other Republicans say they will talk to him by phone including the powerful and the. I don't all he has to talk to me. And Mary Bruce with a slot tonight from Washington getting answers from Republicans but Republicans have an argument to marry. Pointing to something vice president Joseph Biden once said about Supreme Court vacancies during an election year. Yet there they call it the biting rule referring to the vice president's comments back in 1992 saying that Supreme Court vacancies should be treated differently. During an election year but today fighting meaning he'll follow one rule when he was in the senate that every Supreme Court nominee get a hearing and a vote. Hear it David Perry Bruce with us tonight Mary thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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